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Franz Kobler Collection

Identifier: AR 7184

Scope and Content Note

This collection holds papers pertaining to the writing and personal life of Franz Kobler. The largest focus of the documents here is on Franz Kobler's historical works on the history of the Jews. A smaller amount of material concerns Kobler's personal life. Documentation of Franz Kobler's legal work as a lawyer is scarce in this collection.

Papers relating to Franz Kobler's writing are located in several areas of the collection. The bulk of this material will be found in Series III: Writings. This series includes copies of drafts of books, extensive notes, and a small amount of correspondence with publishers. Series IV contains notes that possibly were used in the creation of Kobler's books and also include a few essays. Extensive correspondence with publishers concerning the creation of his books is located in Series II.

Details of Franz Kobler's life are also documented in this collection. Series I holds personal documents such as biographical articles, curriculum vitae, and a few photographs. It also includes official papers issued by governmental and educational agencies as well as Kobler's passports. Another area where personal information may be found is among the correspondence with individuals in Series II. Most of the correspondence with friends and family members in Series II is informal.


  • Creation: 1841-1977
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1933-1965


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English, with some Czech and Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog"Request" and click on the button.

Use Restrictions

There may be some restrictions on the use of the collection. For more information, contact:

Leo Baeck Institute, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011


Biographical Note

Franz Kobler was born in Mladá Boleslav in Bohemia, in the then Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Czech Republic) on December 18, 1882. He was the son of Josef Kobler, a Jewish farmer and businessman, and Katherina Baer.

After completing his studies at the local Gymnasium, Kobler went to study philosophy, history, and law at universities in Prague, Berlin, and Vienna. Among his philosophy teachers in Prague was Thomas Masaryk. He met his wife, Dora Feigenbaum, while studying in Berlin. In 1906 he received his doctorate in law in Vienna, and in 1914 he opened his own legal practice, taking both criminal and civil cases. In 1909 the Koblers had a son, Richard.

Kobler had been interested in Zionism even at a young age, having read Herzl's Judenstaat while still in secondary school. As a student in Prague he belonged to the student group Bar Kochba, where Martin Buber gave lectures during the early years of the twentieth century. This group included such future Zionist leaders as Max Brod, Hugo Bergmann, Hans Kohn, Felix and Robert Weltsch, and Leo Herrmann, among others. In 1901 he gave a talk on Jewish folk education at a conference for Zionist youth called by Chaim Weizmann. Franz Kobler was also a member of several Zionist organizations during the interwar period, including the Zionistischen Landeskomittee für Österreich, the Herzl Club, and the B'nai B'rith lodge Die Wahrheit. Newspaper articles written by him also focused on Zionist themes in papers such as Die Stimme.

In addition to his legal work, Franz Kobler was also a prolific writer. His interest in pacifism led to participation in an anthology, Gewalt und Gewaltlosigkeit, which was published in 1928 and contained contributions by many notable pacifists. He also worked on a dramatization of Plato's Symposium (Das Gastmahl), in collaboration with Ernst Müller, published in 1932. Kobler then became interested in looking at history through the medium of correspondence. His work Juden und Judentum in deutschen Briefen aus drei Jahrhunderten appeared in 1935, followed three years later by Jüdische Geschichte in Briefen aus Ost und West.

In March 1938, following the Anschluss of Austria by Nazi Germany, Franz Kobler and his son were arrested. Franz Kobler was released three months later. Along with his wife, Kobler fled to Zürich before emigrating to London. They remained there until 1947, when Franz and Dora Kobler joined their son in San Francisco.

It was during Franz Kobler's stay in England that he began his research into the British movement for the restoration of Israel to the Jews. The result of this research was his book The Vision Was There, published in 1956. Kobler also began work on Letters of Jews Through the Ages, a two-volume work that considered Jewish history by examining letters from Biblical times through the eighteenth century. After arriving in San Francisco, Kobler began work on Her Children Call Her Blessed.

After the death of Dora Kobler in 1960, Franz Kobler moved to Berkeley, California. It was there that he worked on Napoleon and the Jews. He remained in Berkeley until his own death in 1965.


9 Linear Feet


This collection contains the papers of the lawyer and historian Franz Kobler (1882-1965), with the major focus of the papers here on his historical works. Included here are manuscript drafts, correspondence, official papers, notes, newspaper clippings, and a few photographs.


The microfilm is on 37 reels of microfilm (MF 760):

  1. Reel 1: 1/1 - 1/16
  2. Reel 2: 1/17 - 1/25
  3. Reel 3: 1/26 - 1/43
  4. Reel 4: 1/44 - 1/59
  5. Reel 5: 1/59 - 2/12
  6. Reel 6: 2/12 - 2/28
  7. Reel 7: 2/29 - 2/37
  8. Reel 8: 2/38 - 2/43
  9. Reel 9: 2/43 - 3/3
  10. Reel 10: 3/4 - 3/6
  11. Reel 11: 3/7 - 3/11
  12. Reel 12: 3/12 - 3/22
  13. Reel 13: 3/23 - 4/3
  14. Reel 14: 4/4 - 4/9
  15. Reel 15: 4/10 - 4/15
  16. Reel 16: 4/16 - 4/23
  17. Reel 17: 4/29 - 5/8
  18. Reel 18: 5/8 - 5/15
  19. Reel 19: 5/16 - 5/31
  20. Reel 20: 5/32 - 5/38
  21. Reel 21: 5/39 - 6/2
  22. Reel 22: 6/3 - 6/5
  23. Reel 23: 6/6 - 6/9
  24. Reel 24: 6/10 - 6/14
  25. Reel 25: 6/15 - 6/18
  26. Reel 26: 6/19 - 7/12
  27. Reel 27: 7/13 - 7/31
  28. Reel 28: 7/32 - 7/36
  29. Reel 29: 7/37 - 7/43
  30. Reel 30: 7/44 - 8/3
  31. Reel 31: 8/3 - 8/12
  32. Reel 32: 8/13 - 8/21
  33. Reel 33: 8/22 - 8/32
  34. Reel 34: 8/33 - 9/2
  35. Reel 35: 9/8 - 9/19
  36. Reel 36: 9/20 - 9/27
  37. Reel 37: 9/28 - 9/43

Related Material

The Leo Baeck Institute Archives include a biography of Franz Kobler, available on microfilm: Franz Kobler (1882-1965). Rechtsanwalt, Historiker und Pazifist. In addition, the LBI Library holds the following books by Franz Kobler:

  1. Charles Henry Churchill (1962)
  2. Gewalt und Gewaltlosigkeit; Handbuch des aktiven Pazifismus, im Auftrage der Internationale der Kriegsdienstgegner (1928)
  3. Her Children Call Her Blessed; a Portrait of the Jewish Mother (1955)
  4. Juden und Judentum in deutschen Briefen aus drei Jahrhunderten (1935)
  5. Jüdische Geschichte in Briefen aus Ost und West; das Zeitalter der Emanzipation (1935)
  6. Napoleon and the Jews (1976)
  7. Plato: The Symposium (1967)
  8. Platon: Das Gastmahl (1932)
  9. Recht und Unrecht der Ausweisung; dargestellt auf Grund der österreichischen Gesetzgebung und Praxis
  10. Sir Henry Finch (1558-1625) and the First English Advocates of the Restoration of the Jews to Palestine (1952)
  11. A Treasury of Jewish Letters (1954)
  12. The Vision was There; a History of the British Movement for the Restoration of the Jews to Palestine (1956)

Processing Information

The collection was primarily organized according to the arrangement found in a previous paper finding aid. The former Series III: Manuscripts and research material was separated into two series, Writings and Research Material.

Guide to the Papers of Franz Kobler (1882-1965) 1841-1977 (bulk 1933-1965) AR 7184 / MF 760
Processed by LBI Staff and Dianne Oummia
© 2007
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Edition statement
This version was derived from FranzKobler.xml

Revision Statements

  • 2010-03-23 : encoding of linking to digital objects from finding aid was changed from <extref> to <dao> through dao_conv.xsl

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States